For many, the way the sacrament is practiced within Mormonism can feel stale and perfunctory rather than spiritually fulfilling. The LDS practice is very simple, beginning with a hymn, followed by the reading of set prayers (but very rarely feeling like prayer and supplication, an attempt to unite us in common purpose), then being followed by boys and men (only) passing the emblems–plain bread and tap water–to the congregation. It concludes with thanks from the pulpit for those who administered the ordinance, and then the regular flow of sacrament begins again. (Of course, during the pandemic, the sacrament has been moved to the end, following the end of the meeting being streamed to those watching from home.)
In this episode, Jody England Hansen and LDF host Dan Wotherspoon, two people who often speak and teach together about ritual and religious practice, offer perspectives that they hope will help everyone deepen their experiences during and surrounding the sacrament. Following their sharing pieces of their own journeys to where they are now in their thinking and practice of the sacrament, they turn the focus toward the sacrament as a “communal meal,” a time of sharing and building community among those who choose to unite within God’s love and “Way” of being. They speak of the deep yearning we all feel to be connected, to be included, to live with purpose that allows the free flow of that love, that grace. Along the way, they reflect on the ideas that often obscure us from moving into the ritual’s true purpose, the power of simplicity in this ordinance, and much more.
The episode contains stories, reflections, and rich insights. It is definitely one to listen to–perhaps again and again!
Places in the Heart, 1984 film mentioned in the podcast
Brigham City, 2001 film mentioned in the podcast